In 2018, web ad sales grabbed the lead by piling up $40 billion more sold than their TV competitors, according to Zenith, an advertising measurement company.
Some ads are positioned for both online or TV. But most online ads are now tailored to quickly grab the attention of web cruisers. Ignore this fact with a dull customer testimonial video and you’ll drive off potential customers.
In the last few years, ad creators and PR firms have found a genre of video that’s become a hit with businesses from small start-ups to large companies. This is the customer testimonial video. Usually kept to 2 to 3 minutes in length, professional productions seem like cousins to Hollywood movies. But testimonials shot by nonprofessionals can hit paydirt, too, using an aging DSLR movie camera or a cellphone camera to capture interview footage.
Short testimonial videos are all about reviews of products and services. These hosts are customers who have purchased and put through its paces a small appliance, eaten in a new chain of restaurants, and such. In the service category, a customer/host will rate businesses that guide customers to employment, repair broken plumbing, or tackle jobs for customers who couldn’t or wouldn’t do themselves.
Regardless of the subject, testimonial videos have an impressive track record at drawing interested customers. Customers/hosts convince shoppers that specific products and services are smart buys. Consider:
- Customer testimonial videos are the most effective venue for advertising. These testimonials have an unmatched 89% effectiveness rating, according to marketers at socialfresh.com.
- Shoppers trust online testimonial reviews by a customer/host as much as buyers look to family and friends for advice, according to brightlocal.com.
- 85 percent of Internet shoppers search for 10 reviews before making a purchase, according to searchengineland.com.
So nearly 9 out of 10 times, online shoppers are moved to purchase by favorable customer testimonials. Potential buyers are also swayed to buy through video reviews. In fact, the influence of relatives and friends before making a purchase is about equal influence of customer/host’s reviews on web videos.
Spectrum of Testimonials
Videos are produced to shine light on everything from dog toys to corporations promoting their services. So testimonials range from quickly made, low-cost productions to visually extravagant videos that would earn applause at a South By Southwest Film Festival.
How customer review videos are received by consumers depends partly on production budgets, hiring professional videographers, quality of the equipment, and fabulous sets. But creativity can trump the advantages of a thick wallet. Highly successful videos have raked in sales even though inexpensive movie cameras were used and scenes were shot in garages and city parks. The secret sauce is the customer/host. If he or she comes across as someone who is honest, smart, engaging, and insightful, the video will prove a winner.
Here’s what you can expect from customer testimonial videos at each end of the quality spectrum.
Simple video: I stumbled onto a testimonial a few years ago that could be a model for small budget videos. The topic here was losing weight at a gym. Though exercise videos have a large audience, it’s very rare for me to watch one. But this 3-minute story grabbed me.
The only person in the video was a seriously overweight man describing his dilemma. It opened with him looking completely downcast on his first gym day. “I don’t want to live this way any longer.” His problem? The 450 pounds he was carrying.
Even though the amatuerish video was shot on a cellphone, the soft-spoken man seemed sympathetic and honest. All the filming took place in the gym. Though still far from the goal, the man had been working out five times a week for about two months. A long camera shot showed real progress but there were still many months and years ahead. He seemed committed to remake his life. I hope he did.
Costly video: If you are creating customer testimonials on your own like the example above, costs can be held to $500 or less. But large corporations have higher expectations. Executives want professional productions, which drives prices to $5000 and beyond.
Planning corporate shoots usually take several days or longer for writing a script. Then a location for the shoot must be chosen, set envisioned, and props purchased. All this will likely involve videography crews of two, three or more to handle the camera, sound, and lighting. Professionals will be hired to take care of hair, makeup, and wardrobe. The bills may grow from there.
Viewers will react positively to the best customer videos. It’s predictable that these viewers will soon become owners of the products promoted in online ads.
Success begins by choosing a customer who owns your product and can critique it with joy, enthusiasm, honesty, and certainty. A little humor can have a positive place in a testimonial but too many laughs can overwhelm the review. A better mode to create a hit video is to find a customer who has emotional feelings about some trait of the product. Hire him or her asap. Or find a customer that has a memorable story about owning the product. This type of customer can deliver scads of purchases with testimonies that are clever, engaging, and useful.
In return, your customer video has the potential of drawing a surprisely large online audience. Aim for customer testimony that can:
- Draw a steady crowd.
- Hold the attention of viewers as they watch the entire video.
- Build reader enthusiasm about the product, which moves them to purchase.
- Develops trust in the authenticity of the message.
- Captures far more viewers than a print presentation will.
A Deeper Look At Costs
In recent years there’s been staggering growth among both PR and video production companies. Big cities rich are in these agencies while small video production companies are taking on work too. Businesses are beating the bushes for professionals who know how to create and market videos for commercial and entertainment use. At the top of the list, companies of every size ask a not-so-easy question: What’s the price?
Earlier in this blog, the cost of a typical production was given as $5000. But there are so many differences among videos, a single price is usually wrong. A small company owner with a very simple yet creative video plan in mind may cap a project budget at $1000 or less. On the other hand, an executive from a large company may find $5000 will double to $10000 to get the video he or she imagines. The more muscular shoot will take at least a week for a crew of five, travel to more than one location, and some fairly complex background props.
Small videography shops typically offer the lowest prices, While many large agencies charge a dayrate of around $1500, small videography shops offer lower rates of $750 or less. But beware: Verify the quality of videos shot by independent videographers.
Keys To The Best Testimonial Videos
Selling through testimonial videos can boost business income exponentially. That means profits go up. But these videos will likely fail if the customer/host isn’t right for the part. It’s essential that she or he is completely truthful about the featured product. This customer speaks only from real-world experience with the product.
Here are proven customer/host attributes that are often seen in effective testimonial videos. These are some of her or his best qualities and insights.
- Drive and purpose. This is a person who believes in telling the truth about everything. He or she was probably first in class to memorize the Pledge of Allegiance. She or he genuinely wants others to experience the product in the video.
- Emotional strength. This customer isn’t afraid to tell her or his audience how emotional it was when the rescue dog first entered his new home. When the animal moved in, the ragged pooch wasn’t expected to last long. “Then I picked up this dog food and it played an important role in his recovery,” the customer said, quietly.
- Clear. Perhaps the customer/host felt that she or he should tell the audience that children should not touch or handle the product. The customer/host took her concern to the company and wording was composed to express her or his concern without scaring away potential customers.
- Balance between show and tell. She or he has an instinct to show the product as well as talk about it. This is particularly helpful when instructing potential customers how to operate a somewhat complex small appliance or similar item.
- Know the audience. This is essential when creating videos. A storyline that appeals to 50 to 70-year-old men won’t lure nearly as many women.
- Understand Production Quality. Having quality equipment particularly cameras and computers used to make videos is critical. This knowledge may help by increasing the possibilities when shooting or editing.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Testimonials shouldn’t push secondary points into videos. There’s no room in a 3-minute ad to focus deeply on technology, obscurity, or negatives.
- Satisfying stories. To grow the audience, the customer/host can add a compelling story to the video. Crowds react positively to stories that open badly but are all happiness in the end. Maybe a story of unparalleled customer support could be shared.
- Explain tough questions. If a product comes with a negative aspect, address the situation. For instance, the video is about a Cuban espresso coffee being exported to the U.S. Get in front of the questions by giving the audience a few positive facts about how the coffee is handled, processed, and delivered safely.
- Keep smiling and speak clearly. A smooth, informative presentation wins hearts and wallets
This is a lot of information to take in if you're just getting started. ProMAX works with a number of professional video companies. If you want more information, reach out to us and we can connect you with one of them.
Whether you decide to work with an experienced video testimonial company or record your own video, getting your message across clearly is the most important goal of your project. If you are new to the video testimonial process, take your time to plan out everything before you start shooting and follow the tips above and you'll be on your way to creating amazing content that will help grow your audience and increase your sales.
Once you have your video testimonial process figured out you'll need somewhere to store all your interview and b-roll footage. That's when you call ProMAX.